Katy Guest: Rant & Rave (27/03/11)

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The Independent Online


Thanks to St Andrews University – mostly famous as where Wills met Kate – for confirming one of the more uncomfortable facts about supposedly modern life. According to the university, which studied 416 men and women who were asked to rate their own attractiveness, good-looking women really are less likely to pay their way on a date.

"They quite literally bring more to the table," reported a researcher, Dr Michael Stirrat, "so they expect the other person to pick up the tab." Not only are there still women who say, "My contribution is my delightful company" – as if they only ever dine with boring men so that they don't have to sully themselves by paying for their own food – they're also willing to admit it to scientists. Have we moved on at all from the 1890s?

It's always fun to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, so here goes: "Would you dine with a tedious rich man for the cost of your chips?" "Why yes, provided he throws in a saveloy." "And would you have sex with a tedious rich man for the cost of your house?" "Of course not! What kind of woman do you think I am?" "Madam, we have already established what kind of woman you are; now we are just haggling over the price."


At last, some imaginative thinking from the people who run London; they have decided to allow "ghost stations" to be used as pubs. Beautiful disused tube stops such as Aldwych and Brompton Road will be turned into bars, instead of rotting silently underneath everyone's feet.

But why stop at this? In other great world cities, such as Derby, they open up friendly little bars around their parks and town squares, allowing tourists a place to sit down (and spend money) and locals to drink cold beers in the evening sunlight.

My life's mission is to bring a bit of Derby to the stressed-out capital, and I will not rest until there are chilled beverages in Trafalgar Square. It's only a small contribution to the national psyche, but at least it would be better than Styrofoam tea and smelly pigeons.